Here’s Why Accepting Your Imperfections Can Help You Find Meaning in LifeNone By Homaira Kabir
I was seated beside a young girl on the six-hour flight back home. Given that I work with adolescents, and that I have four of my own, I figured we’d have some interesting conversations.
I was wrong. She needed no one. She had her phone, and she spent the vast majority of the flight taking photos and videos of herself. The rest of her time was spent editing, Photoshopping, deleting, and then assessing the results, over and over again.
At home later, I asked my kids if this was normal. They looked at me as though I’d just woken up from a sleeping spell. (Reminder to self—I need to go through their photo feeds.)
The incident on the plane was a stark reminder of the obsession with the self that has risen by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. The failed self-esteem movement of the 1970s led to an epidemic of believing only the good about ourselves, and consequently a rise in narcissism. The ubiquity of social media brought with it a new means to broadcast our wonderful lives of iced lattes and beachy vacations. And the rise of “selfies” at every level of interaction has fed a self-love that is, well, quite unusual for a species that finds strength in numbers, and meaning in belonging to something larger than the self.
This inflated view of ourselves is harming us—not only because the burden of grandiosity can crumble, leading to disillusionment and depression, but because the moment we believe we’re quite wonderful inside, we deny our imperfections and grade ourselves on a forgiving curve. We justify our actions and come up with excuses; over time, the quality of our excuses determines the quality of our lives. In trying to convince ourselves of our greatness, we become divided with our wholeness, and devolve into lesser ver